History of the Butterfly, Part 108: Grinnell’s Reply

Rousseau was apparently not present when on February 6, 1866 Mr. Grinnell gave his speech on the Freedmen’s Bureau reauthorization bill.  He called Rousseau on a statement he had made a on the third.  He also insulted the state of Kentucky.  Here is part of that debate (Mr. Trimble was also a representative from Kentucky):

From Wikimedia Commons

Mr. GRINNELL:  The gentleman says the laws of Kentucky are honorable, just, and suited to the condition of the people of that State.  I ask that gentleman why Kentucky has not repealed or amended or changed her barbarous laws?

Mr. TRIMBLE.  What barbarous laws?

Mr. GRINNELL:  Those against the loyal black people of the State.  For instance, that law which makes it a penal offense for a man who has worn the Government uniform and fought our battles to go into that State.

Mr. TRIMBLE.  As I understand, the Legislature of Kentucky is still in session.  And so far as I am concerned, and I know it is the desire of every member of the party I represent in Kentucky, I desire that that State shall provide to meet the altered condition of things, and do justice to every white man and every black man in Kentucky.  I can tell the gentleman the reason it has not yet been done.  They have not had time; they have been in session only some three or four weeks, and matters of very great importance have been before them.  But I have no doubt the Legislature will do full justice to all classes of her population; and so far as I am concerned, I am willing to do it today.  Kentucky will not be driven.

And having answered the gentleman, I desire to say that I do not wish to have any personal dispute with him.  But it would seem that his remarks could be construed into something of that kind.

Mr. GRINNELL:  My questions are personal, and could not be otherwise.

Mr. TRIMBLE.  And your denunciations of the State of Kentucky, were they personal?

Mr. GRINNELL.  I was denouncing wrong and oppression and wickedness and crime.

Mr. TRIMBLE.  Does the gentleman intend those denunciations to apply to me?

Mr. GRINNELL.  Not to the gentleman, personally, but to the State that he is defending here.  And not only himself, but his colleagues, who do the same here day after day…

…Now, let us see what are the laws of Kentucky, which are so just and honorable and equitable…

…The white man can testify in the courts; the black man can testify against himself.  The white man can vote; the black man cannot.  The white man, if he commits an offense, is tried by a jury of his peers; the black man is tried by his enlightened, unprejudiced superiors.  The rape of a Negro woman by a white man is no offense; the rape of a white woman by a Negro man is punishable by death, and the Governor of the State cannot commute.

A white man may come into Kentucky when he pleases; the free Negro who comes there is a felon, though a discharged soldier and wounded in our battles.  A white man in Kentucky may keep a gun; if a black man buys a gun he forfeits it and pays a fine of five dollars, if presuming to keep in his possession a musket which he has carried through the war…

The speech, according to Grinnell’s autobiography, went on for more than an hour.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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